RoBoard RB-050

Based on DMP's Vortex processor / SoC this board is a full computer capable of running a standard Windows and Linux installation on the backpack of your robot.
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RoBoard RB-050

Post by roboard » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:00 am

Post by roboard
Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:00 am

RoBoard is an our attempt to improve robot micro-controllers; it may have no performance like modern Desktop PC, but it is more tiny so that one can embed RoBoard into various (small-size) robots, and is more powerful than general MCU-based controllers so that complex robot control becomes possible. In addition, when used as a micro-controller, RoBoard's x86 CPU provides a unified development/programming environment between the user's host PC and robot micro-controller.

Now we determine to design a new RoBoard such that it looks and is priced more like a micro-controller. The result is a cost-down but completely redesigned version of RoBoard: RB-050.

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RB-050 includes most of I/O functions (ADC, I2C, Serial, PWM, USB, ...) of RB-100/RB-110 but has no VGA; thus it more expects to be treated like a micro-controller (and isn't designed for novices). We will only support Linux/WinCE/XPE/DOS as the OS of RB-050, even though it's possible to run WinXP on RB-050 via Remote Desktop. RB-050 allows to use two different types of storages: external MicroSD card or on-board SST 8GB NANDrive. The version of using built-in NANDrive can provide a very acceptable disk-access speed but will only be asked by request.

We are also planning to release pre-installed Linux images for RB-050 and your any suggestion for this is welcome. :)
RoBoard is an our attempt to improve robot micro-controllers; it may have no performance like modern Desktop PC, but it is more tiny so that one can embed RoBoard into various (small-size) robots, and is more powerful than general MCU-based controllers so that complex robot control becomes possible. In addition, when used as a micro-controller, RoBoard's x86 CPU provides a unified development/programming environment between the user's host PC and robot micro-controller.

Now we determine to design a new RoBoard such that it looks and is priced more like a micro-controller. The result is a cost-down but completely redesigned version of RoBoard: RB-050.

Image

Image

Image

Image

RB-050 includes most of I/O functions (ADC, I2C, Serial, PWM, USB, ...) of RB-100/RB-110 but has no VGA; thus it more expects to be treated like a micro-controller (and isn't designed for novices). We will only support Linux/WinCE/XPE/DOS as the OS of RB-050, even though it's possible to run WinXP on RB-050 via Remote Desktop. RB-050 allows to use two different types of storages: external MicroSD card or on-board SST 8GB NANDrive. The version of using built-in NANDrive can provide a very acceptable disk-access speed but will only be asked by request.

We are also planning to release pre-installed Linux images for RB-050 and your any suggestion for this is welcome. :)
Last edited by roboard on Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by PaulL » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:45 pm

Post by PaulL
Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:45 pm

Hey Roboard,

I realize you don't want to release the specs until March, but will this be running the Vortex86 at 1 ghz?

Thanks!
Paul
Hey Roboard,

I realize you don't want to release the specs until March, but will this be running the Vortex86 at 1 ghz?

Thanks!
Paul
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Post by roboard » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:53 am

Post by roboard
Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:53 am

Hi Paul,

RB-050 hardware is being tested, which will finish in March.

The detailed spec is as follows:

CPU
    DM&P Vortex86DX version D at 800MHz
RAM
    256MB DDR-II (run at 300MHz)
Storage
    MicroSD card as IDE disk
    SST NANDrive [option, only by request]
Network
    100M Ethernet port
I/O Interface
    4 USB 2.0 ports
    1 RS232 serial port (max 750Kbps)
    1 RS485 serial port (max 750Kbps)
    2 full-duplex TTL serial ports (max 750Kbps)
    1 I2C port
    8-ch 10-bit ADC
    16-ch PWM/GPIO
Power Supply
    6V~24V input
Dimension
    ~ 5 x 5 cm


We add some minor improvments on RB-050. For example, the harddisk LED can now flicker when accessing MicroSD card, which can help you to recognize when the OS complete its boot; the ~reset pin on I2C connector is now attached with a LED for BIOS booting and OS shutdown indicator; a more secure power connector (and the optional on-board disk) is employed to tolerate more strong shocks.

VGA isn't supported by RB-050 because we think it as a PC-based "micro-controller". The user can manipulate RB-050 BIOS via serial console, and also login Linux via serial console or telnet. The price is expected to be $1xx and will be determined when the BOM is out.

Softwares and usage guides for RB-050 are also being prepared, and any suggestion is welcome. :)
Hi Paul,

RB-050 hardware is being tested, which will finish in March.

The detailed spec is as follows:

CPU
    DM&P Vortex86DX version D at 800MHz
RAM
    256MB DDR-II (run at 300MHz)
Storage
    MicroSD card as IDE disk
    SST NANDrive [option, only by request]
Network
    100M Ethernet port
I/O Interface
    4 USB 2.0 ports
    1 RS232 serial port (max 750Kbps)
    1 RS485 serial port (max 750Kbps)
    2 full-duplex TTL serial ports (max 750Kbps)
    1 I2C port
    8-ch 10-bit ADC
    16-ch PWM/GPIO
Power Supply
    6V~24V input
Dimension
    ~ 5 x 5 cm


We add some minor improvments on RB-050. For example, the harddisk LED can now flicker when accessing MicroSD card, which can help you to recognize when the OS complete its boot; the ~reset pin on I2C connector is now attached with a LED for BIOS booting and OS shutdown indicator; a more secure power connector (and the optional on-board disk) is employed to tolerate more strong shocks.

VGA isn't supported by RB-050 because we think it as a PC-based "micro-controller". The user can manipulate RB-050 BIOS via serial console, and also login Linux via serial console or telnet. The price is expected to be $1xx and will be determined when the BOM is out.

Softwares and usage guides for RB-050 are also being prepared, and any suggestion is welcome. :)
Last edited by roboard on Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Availability

Post by sascha » Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:08 pm

Post by sascha
Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:08 pm

Count me in ... Any update on this one?
Count me in ... Any update on this one?
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Post by limor » Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:03 pm

Post by limor
Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:03 pm

This is bound to be the best general purpose designated robot control board.
given its size and performance and hopefully price, I'm looking forward to see it in action on a bioloid and khr.
This is bound to be the best general purpose designated robot control board.
given its size and performance and hopefully price, I'm looking forward to see it in action on a bioloid and khr.
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Re: Availability

Post by roboard » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:07 pm

Post by roboard
Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:07 pm

sascha wrote:Count me in ... Any update on this one?


Its hardware has been verified done last week and everything works normally. We are preparing software and documents.

Software for RB-050 is basically compatible with RB-100/RB-110 due to the same CPU; in other word, most of programs written for RB-100/RB-110 should run on RB-050 without modifications (or just with very minor modifications).

:)
sascha wrote:Count me in ... Any update on this one?


Its hardware has been verified done last week and everything works normally. We are preparing software and documents.

Software for RB-050 is basically compatible with RB-100/RB-110 due to the same CPU; in other word, most of programs written for RB-100/RB-110 should run on RB-050 without modifications (or just with very minor modifications).

:)
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Post by i-Bot » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:42 am

Post by i-Bot
Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:42 am

Could you give me a bit more information on a couple of topics ? I am trying to decide between this RB-050 and an OMAP based board.


Can you give full dimensions and mountings ? Especially what is the depth of the unit ? is that a heatsink ? is it needed ?. So, what is total depth including the heatsink and the mating connectors ?

I think you do not have the FTDI for serial is that correct ? Is the USB capable of both high speed and full speed ? Is there any capability for the on board power supply to provide 5V for USB devices ? If yes, what is total current available

Thx.
Could you give me a bit more information on a couple of topics ? I am trying to decide between this RB-050 and an OMAP based board.


Can you give full dimensions and mountings ? Especially what is the depth of the unit ? is that a heatsink ? is it needed ?. So, what is total depth including the heatsink and the mating connectors ?

I think you do not have the FTDI for serial is that correct ? Is the USB capable of both high speed and full speed ? Is there any capability for the on board power supply to provide 5V for USB devices ? If yes, what is total current available

Thx.
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Post by roboard » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:55 pm

Post by roboard
Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:55 pm

i-Bot wrote:Could you give me a bit more information on a couple of topics ? ...



Hi,

the detailed demensions is about 5.2cm x 5.2cm x 2.3cm (considering the highest on-board connector), and 5.2cm x 5.2cm x 1.9cm without the metallic shell. The shell is for heat sink and for providing better protection to the core CPU board (and also for providing a better EMC performance); we may not provide the warranty if you remove the shell from RB-050 by yourself.

No on-board FTDI for RB-050; the USB is supported to 2.0 (thus both Hi-Speed and Full-Speed is ok). The power consumption of RB-050 is about 2W~3W and, since its input voltage is 6V~24V, supplying RB-050 with USB port power is not suggested.

RB-050 is tested at 1GHz, but for the reason of better temperature performance (-40~+85 C), the final formal version will run at 800MHz.

:)
i-Bot wrote:Could you give me a bit more information on a couple of topics ? ...



Hi,

the detailed demensions is about 5.2cm x 5.2cm x 2.3cm (considering the highest on-board connector), and 5.2cm x 5.2cm x 1.9cm without the metallic shell. The shell is for heat sink and for providing better protection to the core CPU board (and also for providing a better EMC performance); we may not provide the warranty if you remove the shell from RB-050 by yourself.

No on-board FTDI for RB-050; the USB is supported to 2.0 (thus both Hi-Speed and Full-Speed is ok). The power consumption of RB-050 is about 2W~3W and, since its input voltage is 6V~24V, supplying RB-050 with USB port power is not suggested.

RB-050 is tested at 1GHz, but for the reason of better temperature performance (-40~+85 C), the final formal version will run at 800MHz.

:)
Last edited by roboard on Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by klims » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:27 pm

Post by klims
Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:27 pm

Do you see any reason why something like this couldn't be used on the rb-050?
http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/usb-gadgets/bfa3/

Thanks
Do you see any reason why something like this couldn't be used on the rb-050?
http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/usb-gadgets/bfa3/

Thanks
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imo Monitor

Post by sascha » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:36 pm

Post by sascha
Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:36 pm

To use this USB monitor, you need a driver. This is the list of supported OS for the driver (according to their website):
Windows 2000 SP4
Windows XP SP2 32-bit
Windows Vista 32-bit
Windows Vista 64-bit
Windows 7 32-bit
Windows 7 64-bit
Mac OS X 10.4.11 (Intel-only)
Mac OS X 10.5.5 or higher (Intel-only)
Mac OS X 10.6 (Beta Driver) (32-bit mode only)

Comparing this to the list of supported OS on the board at the beginning of this article, unfortunately none is matching.
To use this USB monitor, you need a driver. This is the list of supported OS for the driver (according to their website):
Windows 2000 SP4
Windows XP SP2 32-bit
Windows Vista 32-bit
Windows Vista 64-bit
Windows 7 32-bit
Windows 7 64-bit
Mac OS X 10.4.11 (Intel-only)
Mac OS X 10.5.5 or higher (Intel-only)
Mac OS X 10.6 (Beta Driver) (32-bit mode only)

Comparing this to the list of supported OS on the board at the beginning of this article, unfortunately none is matching.
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Post by sascha » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:46 pm

Post by sascha
Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:46 pm

Upps, I posted my reply a bit to early. The Nanovision MIMO UM-720S USB Monitor is supporting at least Linux. Don't see any reason, why it shouldn't work with this board.
Upps, I posted my reply a bit to early. The Nanovision MIMO UM-720S USB Monitor is supporting at least Linux. Don't see any reason, why it shouldn't work with this board.
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Post by roboard » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:01 am

Post by roboard
Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:01 am

klims wrote:Do you see any reason why something like this couldn't be used on the rb-050?
http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/usb-gadgets/bfa3/


The USB montor is really a possible solution for RB-050's VGA. But we have not tested RB-050 on any USB monitor and don't plan on supporting such solutions officially. If you are interested, you can try such solution by yourself (and this may work).

Remarks: when you try an USB montor on RB-050, you may encounter two possible issues (so try the solution by your decision):

1. The speed may be slow.

2. The driver of the USB monitor may use Intel's MMX & SSE instructions, which are not supported by RB-050's CPU.


Some more information on RB-050: RB-050 is getting into mass procuction and should start to be sold in April or May. We are making more effort to try down pricing RB-050 like a microcontroller (e.g. a BeagleBoard-xM). In contrast to other general microcontrollers, we shall also add basic protection (e.g., ESD & over-voltage) on TTL serial ports and every PWM/GPIO pin and power input of RB-050 to adapt it to Robotics applications (such protection has appeared on RB-110 and the DM118D model of RB-100).

:)
klims wrote:Do you see any reason why something like this couldn't be used on the rb-050?
http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/usb-gadgets/bfa3/


The USB montor is really a possible solution for RB-050's VGA. But we have not tested RB-050 on any USB monitor and don't plan on supporting such solutions officially. If you are interested, you can try such solution by yourself (and this may work).

Remarks: when you try an USB montor on RB-050, you may encounter two possible issues (so try the solution by your decision):

1. The speed may be slow.

2. The driver of the USB monitor may use Intel's MMX & SSE instructions, which are not supported by RB-050's CPU.


Some more information on RB-050: RB-050 is getting into mass procuction and should start to be sold in April or May. We are making more effort to try down pricing RB-050 like a microcontroller (e.g. a BeagleBoard-xM). In contrast to other general microcontrollers, we shall also add basic protection (e.g., ESD & over-voltage) on TTL serial ports and every PWM/GPIO pin and power input of RB-050 to adapt it to Robotics applications (such protection has appeared on RB-110 and the DM118D model of RB-100).

:)
Last edited by roboard on Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:02 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: imo Monitor

Post by roboard » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:34 am

Post by roboard
Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:34 am

sascha wrote:This is the list of supported OS for the driver (according to their website):
Windows 2000 SP4
Windows XP SP2 32-bit
...

Comparing this to the list of supported OS on the board at the beginning of this article, unfortunately none is matching.


In fact, RB-050 can run WinXP/Win2000, even though we don't plan to support them officially (it is a bit difficult to install WinXP/Win2000 on RB-050).

In personal view, the most intuitive method (having been tested) to install WinXP on RB-050 is that:

1. install WinXP on RB-110 first (following the RB-110 guide on RoBoard Website).

2. set up WinXP Remote Desktop on RB-110.

3. remove the MicroSD card from RB-110 and plug it into RB-050; and then power on RB-050 to make RB-050 boot into WinXP.

4. You may then need to find RB-050's IP address (according to RB-050's MAC address) if you use DHCP.

5. login to RB-050 via WinXP Remote Desktop.

:)
sascha wrote:This is the list of supported OS for the driver (according to their website):
Windows 2000 SP4
Windows XP SP2 32-bit
...

Comparing this to the list of supported OS on the board at the beginning of this article, unfortunately none is matching.


In fact, RB-050 can run WinXP/Win2000, even though we don't plan to support them officially (it is a bit difficult to install WinXP/Win2000 on RB-050).

In personal view, the most intuitive method (having been tested) to install WinXP on RB-050 is that:

1. install WinXP on RB-110 first (following the RB-110 guide on RoBoard Website).

2. set up WinXP Remote Desktop on RB-110.

3. remove the MicroSD card from RB-110 and plug it into RB-050; and then power on RB-050 to make RB-050 boot into WinXP.

4. You may then need to find RB-050's IP address (according to RB-050's MAC address) if you use DHCP.

5. login to RB-050 via WinXP Remote Desktop.

:)
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Post by roboard » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:09 am

Post by roboard
Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:09 am

Some people email to us for querying about the optional on-board SST NANDrive. The following is some information.

The on-board SST NANDrive and MicroSD interface are inherently incompatible in RB-050's CPU. So the version of RB-050 with on-board SST NANDrive will not support MicroSD storage, and vice versa.

Image

The version of RB-050 with NANDrive will have an 8GB SST NANDrive soldered on the core CPU board, which can provide a good disk-accessing performance (30MB/s rw) so that you may feel smooth to manipulate Linux (or Windows) like a Desktop PC. In addition, on-board disk is more firm; together with the metallic shell filled with gum, it should be able to tolerate more strong shock, which adapts itself to rigorous robots in contrast to the version of RB-050 with MicroSD. The drawbacks are that the disk space is fixed and that the cost is higher.

The major product will be the version of RB-050 with MicroSD. And it will depend on the Sales about how the version with NANDrive is distributed. (If you want the version with NANDrive, you may email your information to the Sales info@roboard.com for request.) :)

Image
Some people email to us for querying about the optional on-board SST NANDrive. The following is some information.

The on-board SST NANDrive and MicroSD interface are inherently incompatible in RB-050's CPU. So the version of RB-050 with on-board SST NANDrive will not support MicroSD storage, and vice versa.

Image

The version of RB-050 with NANDrive will have an 8GB SST NANDrive soldered on the core CPU board, which can provide a good disk-accessing performance (30MB/s rw) so that you may feel smooth to manipulate Linux (or Windows) like a Desktop PC. In addition, on-board disk is more firm; together with the metallic shell filled with gum, it should be able to tolerate more strong shock, which adapts itself to rigorous robots in contrast to the version of RB-050 with MicroSD. The drawbacks are that the disk space is fixed and that the cost is higher.

The major product will be the version of RB-050 with MicroSD. And it will depend on the Sales about how the version with NANDrive is distributed. (If you want the version with NANDrive, you may email your information to the Sales info@roboard.com for request.) :)

Image
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Post by Kinoc » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:29 pm

Post by Kinoc
Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:29 pm

I like the RB-100/RB-110, so I look forward to the RB-050.

One question I have is about USB power regulation on the RB-050. I like the fact that the RB-xxx are very power tolerant. However I've had several Phidgets USB combo acccelerometer/gyro/compass burn out (they like 4.75 to 5.25V) when using a 6V supply on the RB-100. When I add an external hub they are just fine, and the same with a PC. I had used mine on the PC for several months, and it and a replacement burned out on the RB. Other USB devices may be better tolerated (external audio and mouse are just fine). Will the USB output be regulated, or is a better regulated input required for such applications?
I like the RB-100/RB-110, so I look forward to the RB-050.

One question I have is about USB power regulation on the RB-050. I like the fact that the RB-xxx are very power tolerant. However I've had several Phidgets USB combo acccelerometer/gyro/compass burn out (they like 4.75 to 5.25V) when using a 6V supply on the RB-100. When I add an external hub they are just fine, and the same with a PC. I had used mine on the PC for several months, and it and a replacement burned out on the RB. Other USB devices may be better tolerated (external audio and mouse are just fine). Will the USB output be regulated, or is a better regulated input required for such applications?
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